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Who is dying from COVID19 in Ontario: how do we move information to action!

Who is dying from COVID19 in Ontario: how do we move information to action!

8,430 Canadians have died from COVID19 in Canada. They are family and friends, not just a number. The News Media has helped us keep up with the information and presented how Seniors, Minorities and people in low-income neighbourhoods are more likely to be harmed by COVID19.

Cases continue to rise in Ontario and Quebec, the two provinces that have accounted for a majority of Canada’s death toll and caseload ever since the pandemic began. Living in Ontario prior to COVID we were fighting back against the Ford’s government cuts to education, social services.  People are out on the streets for Black Lives in Ontario, a good issue to promote a better society. What about being out protesting for “Seniors in LTC Lives Matter.”

Authorities have revealed that postal code data shows people in minority and low-income areas of Ontario are three times more likely to test positive than predominantly white and wealthy neighbourhoods.

Ontario has the highest number of for-profit care homes in Canada, with 57% of the more than 600 facilities owned or managed by for-profits with 17% fewer workers. Residents of for-profit nursing homes in Ontario are far more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and die than those who live in non-profit and municipally-run homes. Long-term care is the front line of Canada’s battle with COVID-19, accounting for as many as four out of every five deaths  Ontario’s home care system provides care to more than 730,000 Ontarians.

Doug Ford and his PC government are moving ahead with their new home and community care legislation. The new regime set out for home and community care dismantles most if not all public governance of home care. All remaining publicly owned & controlled home care would be transferred to an array of provider organizations including for-profit and non-profit organizations. The legislation is permissive, repealing the previous Home Care and Community Services Act and enabling the provider organizations to structure, contract, subcontract & run home care in an array of different ways that they would develop themselves.  In May, the Toronto Star reported that “three of the largest for-profit nursing home operators in Ontario, which have had disproportionately high numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, have together paid out more than $1.5 billion in dividends to shareholders over the last decade.” Mike Harris( former PC Premier) has profited a lot from his part-time boardroom-based job with Chartwell. According to the Toronto Star, he was paid $229,500 last year.

As I was reading the news about COVID19 and LTC – it seemed distant. People’s lives are in danger and it has become a back page issue. Why are we becoming numb to the deaths in Canada and around the world? This is ageism. Are we upset about racism, LGBTQ injustices but not about ageism?

As Canadians, we need to ask this question – why are people who are unable to care for themselves, those who live in minority and low-income areas have a higher number of deaths in Ontario? Are we advocating for them? Write to your MPP in Ontario  – send them an email !!!!  as an MPP should help their constituents with petitions or raise this issue with the government. Doug Ford- Help us understand why you are not acting in the best interest of Ontario, but in the best interest of Mike Harris?




Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor in Toronto. Research areas - health and equity, the nursing profession, Anglo Burmese culture Published in the areas of Nursing, health, racism, critical human rights

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